Knowing what you can grab the next time you’re craving sweets is a great way to quickly and easily make healthier choices.  Usually, if you’re experiencing a craving, this is your body’s way of telling you that there’s a mineral or two you’re not getting enough of, according to Healthy Holistic Living.  So, reaching for an option that will satisfy the deficiency is much more sustainable than what your mind may initially tell you it needs.

Take chocolate for example.  If you’re craving a candy bar, your body may need more magnesium.  Instead of going for your first instinct, reach for nuts, seeds, veggies, fruit, or raw cocoa instead.  Munching on a few of these healthier options first will likely take away the need for chocolate altogether and you’ll be building up the magnesium your body is desperate for, so once your craving dissipates, it’s not likely to return anytime soon.

If you’re simply craving sugar any way you can get it, your body may need carbon, chromium, phosphorus, sulfur, or tryptophan.  Try to substitute with broccoli, grapes, cheese, chicken, eggs, horseradish, or raisins first.  These foods will increase the levels of each of these potentially deficient nutrients your body needs and will keep future cravings a bay.

If you’re in need of a carb-o-load that can only be appeased with bread or pasta, your body is probably craving nitrogen.  Instead of reaching for bad-for-you snacks that will leave you asleep at your desk, try high-protein satisfiers such as fish, nuts, beans, or seeds.  This may seem like the exact opposite of what your body needs, but you may just find it’s actually spot on.  After munching on protein-packed snacks, there’s no more room for carb-heavy diet busters.

Cravings for oily foods such as potato chips or fries typically means your body is lacking calcium.  The best way to up your levels is with dairy instead.  Reach for milk, cheese, yogurt, or leafy green vegetables, such as spinach or kale.  Since it’s difficult to get enough of this essential mineral from meal options, a daily supplement will also help.

In need of salt?  Instead of reaching for the shaker, grab some cashews, fish, or milk.  Salt cravings can usually be chalked up to a chloride or silicon deficiency.  But, in its pure form, salt will only lead to bloating and dehydration.  Most processed foods already include far too much, so the likelihood of not getting enough is slim to none.

Knowing what to reach for when you’re sure you need some not-so-great treats and having these handy for the next time cravings hit is a great way to start truly listening to what your body needs.  If you’re going to be away from home, make sure to pre-pack some snacks and you’ll be good to go!